Every time I visit a country I also make a point to do some kind of riding tour. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that some of these things can be pretty touristy and a but if a let down for experienced riders, but I do my best to read reviews and find the best option possible. Mostly, I just like to see what it’s like in other countries. I have so far ridden horses in 3 different parts of Mexico (Cabo, Cancun, ad Puerto Vallarta), Jamaica, and in Morocco (last time I went, 3 years ago). The riding experience in Morocco was terrifying to say the least, I am pretty sure those horses had maybe 15 rides under saddle. MAYBE. Obviously, I was not going to miss an opportunity to see what riding Spanish horses was like, so I googled around and made the appropriate arrangements.
During our time in Spain, we planned to spend the most time in Seville, so that is where I focused my riding search. A few places came up, but one company stood out to me. The reviews were all terrific, and the pictures of the horses looked pretty good with horses in good health/condition. I booked a private tour so the hubby and I wouldn’t end up in a huge group (I detest small talk with strangers).
We had a blast! The barn was a dressage barn in the gorgeous Spanish countryside, about 20 minutes outside of Seville. Not the fanciest barn ever, but I saw many quality horses. The “tour guide” was actually a dressage trainer who was thrilled to talk horses with me. It was pretty obvious that taking people out on the trails was his side hustle, and that training dressage was his main gig. One of his students was out there on a GORGEOUS Andalusian that I fell in love with. Making conversation, I asked what a horse like that would cost there. He said, “Oh that one? Yes I found him 2 years ago. He was 5000 eur0”. My eyes about bugged out of my head. Easily a 30-40k horse in the US. He was a stunning mover, I was basically drooling. Long story short, Danny gave me his card in case I ever come back and want help finding a horse!
The riding itself went well too. Danny left my hubby and I to our devices in the covered ring while he went to get his horse tacked up. He knew I was experienced, so I gave DH a few tips and tested out the buttons on my guy. He was a pretty fun little thing, and definitely had a good amount of dressage training on him. When Danny came back he offered to let me switch to something fancier, but I declined due to the fact that my hubby has maybe been on a horse 5 times total, so I knew we wouldn’t be doing anything but walking and enjoying the scenery.
We had a FANTASTIC ride. The weather was perfect, and the trails were beautiful. We were surrounded by innumerable olive trees, orange trees, and even a few figs. There were also fields of wheat, and some of the bluest sky I have ever enjoyed. The horses were perfect angels, and obviously enjoying themselves as well. I was happy to see well fitting tack, including dressage saddle with half pads. Mind you it wasn’t the fanciest, and there were definitely signs of wear, but everything was quite serviceable. Would have loved riding something more spirited and going for a light gallop, but I’ll have to save that for next time sans DH!
So who else seeks out riding opportunities abroad? What have your experiences been?